Skip to main content

Full text of "Alexander von Humboldt"

See other formats

WILLIAM  VOX  HmiBOLBT,                  331
valuable works of art. Some years of peace followed.,
hut with the increasing good fortune of the French
emperor, these insults were renewed., and when
Humholdt left Rome, the immediate destruction of the
papal dominions seemed approaching.
All the weapons of the hierarchy, submission or
opposition, were alike inefficient against Napoleon's
power. The pope went to Paris in 1804*, to crown
Napoleon, but in vain. With the seizure of the
citadel of Ancona, a new series of hostilies commenced,
which terminated In July, 18093 with the imprison-
ment and abduction of the pope, and with the incor-
poration of the dominions of the church in the French
In such times of distress and ill usage by old
friends, those rise Into favour who were before more
disregarded or treated with suspicion, Prussia, which
had offered no insults to the pope, and was even, de-
feated by the common enemy, made this experience^
and was treated with more consideration^ as It sent such
an extraordinary and skilful representative to Home
as Humboldt, an individual who imposed respect in
every situation, and whose peculiar talents were
perhaps better esteemed in the Vatican than subse-
quently, sometimes, in great assemblies of European
diplomatists. His partiality for antiquity, for art, his
patronage of foreign artists, not only German or
Prussian, which he exercised liberally, and in which
he has since been imitated by all the ambassa-
dors of Prussia ; the hospitality and liberality of his
house, at a time when want and distress frequently
reigned in Home; all this gained for Hranboldt the
especial favour and esteem, not only of the govern-
ment., but of the Roman people.
This was shown on every occasion. If a great
solemnity, a canonization, took -place, tickets were
always reserved for him and Ms friends; sometimes
even the cardinal's box was given to him. Another
time, a foreign, but not a Prussian artist, had insulted
an eminent person In Home, so that lie